Matt Farmer: Toilet Paper Tuesday!

November 23rd, 2014

If it’s Sunday, it’s time for Chairman Matt’s tweets…

Rauner met with Madigan and Cullerton this morning for two hours; that’s $16.50/person (pre-tax), if you’re an Illinois minimum wage worker.

Taking a cue from Facebook’s TBT (Throwback Thursday) fad, CPS will introduce TPT (Toilet Paper Tuesday) to many of its underserved schools.

CPS board approves new school rating system. Schools with soap and toilet paper will be rated Level 1; schools without will be Level 2.

David Vitale tells CPS parents that Aramark cleaning crews decked out in HazMat suits are now monitoring his toxic swaps. #CPSboard

Vitale now bored with auction-rate swaps; said to be exploring other CPS gaming options, possibly a Public League sports book. #CPSboard

Vitale to explore use of reverse mortgages, payday loans, and CPS student plasma sales to recover sums he lost at auction-rate bond casino.

Emanuel tells media it’s already too late to undo whatever crazy financial deals David Vitale may get us into during the next few months.

If you’re a Chicago taxpayer looking for a low- to no-risk swap, swap out Mayor Emanuel in February 2015.

Rahm to target Aspen, Palm Springs, Wilmette and Martha’s Vineyard in first round of 2015 mayoral campaign ads, which will air on CNBC.

Sources say new Rahm TV spot will feature Diana Rauner telling voters, “I’m a lifelong Democrat, but I’d still consider voting for Rahm.”

Should the @ChicagoBears play the Philadelphia 76ers in any type of cross-league competition (e.g., darts, Scrabble, etc.), bet the under.

Trestman said to be excited after team displayed playoff-level focus and intensity during Thursday’s team meeting and film session. #Bears

Mel Tucker to address Soldier Field crowd before noon kickoff: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth.” #Bears

Marc Trestman remains upbeat, saying team meetings this week focused on a smart PowerPoint presentation called “Competitive Synergy.” #Bears

No point in talking about “Bear weather”; let’s keep the focus on “Bear whether,” as in whether the #Bears decide to show up this week.

Maybe Marc Trestman can run the table and finish 10-6, which should position him nicely to become Tampa Bay’s next head coach. #Bears

Yes, readers were once able to get to the @Suntimes website in less than three clicks of the mouse, but today’s readers want a challenge.

Nixon declares emergency, calls up National Guard, appeals to Silent Majority, and seeks peace with honor. #Ferguson

 

Editor’s Note: Matt‘s last post for The Third City was Bear Down

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Jim Siergey: Southport Avenue

November 19th, 2014

Walk with me, won’t you? Down this little lane here, Memory Lane it’s called. It goes pretty far back but we don’t have to go all the way. In fact, let’s linger right here a while. The address says 1971.

I was wed in December of 1970 and the new missus and I moved into a four room apartment on Southport Avenue, just north of Irving Park Road. It was a different neighborhood back then, not the glitzy, young urban professional hood it now is, loaded with upscale restaurants, shoppes and fancy food stores. Packs of wild dogs roamed the streets. I kid you not.

There was a grocery store up the block called Jim’s Grocery. Jim was a tall bald-headed fellow who resembled Milton Frome (I had to do a Google Image search to find his name. The familiar Frome frame and face appeared in hundreds of TV shows and movies in the 1960s and 70s). Entering his store was like stepping back into the days of Little House on the Prairie.

Jim would stand there behind the counter clad in his long white apron in front of the shelves stocked with merchandise all the way up to the ceiling. You didn’t select items by yourself. You’d tell Jim what you wanted and he would procure the item, sometimes using a long stick to get down a can from a high shelf and catching it as it fell earthward. (True Note: this is where the term “can of corn” originated in baseball lingo describing an outfielder catching an easy fly ball.) With a pencil procured from the back of his ear, he’d total up the numbers on a brown paper bag whereupon you’d pay him in cash, he’d place the items into that bag, saddle your horse up for you and to home you’d trot.

The Music Box Theater was still operating but it was pretty run down. The carpeting on the theater floor was so sticky from years of spilled soda, popcorn, candy and other types of fluids that it felt like it was made of gum. Finding a seat that wasn’t busted or filthy beyond consideration was a bit of a task. Then, once settled, there were the crying babies to contend with as well as the clinking of empty bottles rolling under the seats and the occasional hiss and splash of someone urinating. But—the admission was only half a buck!

jimsiergeysouthportMy man — Milton Frome…

 

Our apartment rarely, if ever, had hot water. I remember having to heat up pots of water on the stove to pour into the tub in order to bathe without shivering. In the winter, the radiator heat would come on for about fifteen minutes at 7 in the morning and again around 5 at night. We spent many a wintry evening sitting around clad in jackets and coats. One month we deducted the cost of long underwear from our rent payment.

The place was overrun with mice. You could hear them scampering though the walls. One would occasionally surprise us by appearing in the oven, under the sink or in a drawer. They and the cockroaches pretty much ran the kitchen. The building housed six apartments and the outside door didn’t lock. We lived on the first floor and on a number of occasions we could hear people hanging out on the stairs in the hall having their own little off-the-streets party.

On the corner was a tavern called Armand’s Tap. It was an old-school bar where besides alcohol, one could also purchase a variety of items including eggs, socks and gloves. On tap was Bohemian Vat 69, a brand I’d never heard of before and have never heard of since. A glass of beer cost fifteen cents, a schooner cost thirty. I had a couple of adventures in that joint.

This was 1971, remember, and I was a young man so I had shoulder length hair and probably a beard. Y’know, one of them. One time I was in there with a buddy and an older guy in his 40s or so was sitting on the stool next to me. He was talking with me, kinda friendly-like, asking me questions about long hair and stuff. At one point he got up and used the pay phone. A few minutes later the outside of the bar was filled with squad cars and flashing blue lights. Two officers came in with their guns drawn, barking “We got a call that there’s someone in here with a gun! Everybody put their hands on the bar!” The guy next to me, who obviously made the call, starts playing the innocent.

“What’s going on?” he asked me, “What’s happening?”

car54The cops burst in…

 

The old fisheye is what I gave the wise guy. Meanwhile, the frisking cop is behind me. I was wearing an old pea coat with holes in the pockets. When he thrust his hands into my seamless pockets, they kept going until he was giving me a bear hug. Fortunately, I kept my smart alecky trap shut. Those were not the days for a long-hair to play coy with the cops.

Of course, no gun was found (boy, what a difference a few decades make, eh?) and the cops left, leaving the guy next to me, sporting a halo above his greasy hair, asking, “What was that all about?”

One other time, a couple of friends and I went into Armand’s to partake of a few schooners. One of the guys, Leonard, had a baby-face. He looked much younger than he was so the bartender, a short, oily-looking guy with a sneer on his mug, asked to see some I.D.

Leonard handed him his driver’s license which showed that he was 21 years of age. The barkeep looked at it and back at Leonard but still wasn’t convinced. He shoved a piece of paper and a pen over to Leonard and told him to write out his name. This he did and slid the paper back over to the unconvinced bartender.

The guy looked at it, checked it against the license and said “Nope. You forgot your middle initial, the J.”

Then, to our exasperated selves, he leaned over and said, “And you know what the J stands for, don’t you?”

We only had to wait a beat before he answered his own question, in a greasy drawn out manner “Ja-a-a-g-off!”

Before we could react, he slapped down three coasters and asked “What’ll you have?”

Ahhh, those were the days.

 

Editor’s Note: Jim‘s last post for The Third City was Attack of the Invisible Nude Vampires

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Matt Farmer: Bear Down!

November 16th, 2014

About the only good thing about last Sunday’s shellacking in Green Bay is that it inspired Chairman Matt to fire off a bunch of great Tweets…

 

Former Chicago comptroller Amer Ahmad offered to review tape of last night’s #Bears-Packers game in exchange for a lighter prison sentence.

Virginia McCaskey names Bill Daley, Ron Huberman and Reverend James Meeks to @ChicagoBears transition team. #Bears

Garry McCarthy now asking #Bears players and coaches who have any information about tonight’s massacre to cooperate with authorities.

City Council calls emergency Sunday night meeting to approve plan to build George Lucas museum where Soldier Field currently stands. #Bears

Impressed by an explosive first half at Lambeau Field, Bruce Rauner scrambles to find relatives to clout into Aaron Rodgers College Prep.

Rauner to purchase @ChicagoBears and replace offensive starters with workers from India, saying they can score zero points for less money.

walterpayton

Oh, for the good ol’ days when Bears were Bears!

 

Rahm to close city’s underperforming NFL franchises, saying “our children deserve better.” #Bears

Sure, the #Bears are down 45-7, but at least Chicago now has a huge deficit that doesn’t involve David Vitale and auction-rate bonds.

Nate Silver now saying there’s an 87% chance that Marc Trestman will be returning to the Canadian Football League in 2015. #Bears

The @ChicagoBears are 3-6 as Marc Trestman heads into his bye week. Bye, Marc. #Bears

The @ChicagoBears got off the bus running tonight, but they obviously should have stayed on the bus. #Bears

While programming my DVR to record next week’s #Bears-Vikings game, I received the following error message: “Don’t do it. Life’s too short.”

Green Bay fans left Lambeau angry last night, feeling cheated out of a free Big Mac they’d have received had the Packers scored 100 points.

 

Editor’s Note: Matt‘s last post for The Third City was I Will Survive Rauner

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No Blaise: Reading Made Easy

November 12th, 2014

Editor’s Note: No Blaise’s on assignment in Moscow–while she’s out of town, we’re running one of her greatest hits…

 

Though I have some habits that are a staple for me like being hungry all the time, most of my other habits I would consider sporadic.

One of these such sporadic habits is reading. I will get into phases with a good book where I plow through it in a week or two, depending on length. In the aftermath of said good book I’ll read more articles, seek out more information, etc.. Then I’ll find a new good book, get two chapters in and have a headache that can only be cured with photo lists of cute animals and binge watching Netflix.

I can only have the smarts for so long, ya know.

Like most of my sporadic habits, I would like to start reading more regularly. But, how!? It’s not like I don’t like reading, I love it. Getting into a good book is like…the friggin best. So why do I get distracted so easily?

Is it A.D.D.?

Maybe.

Laziness?

Certainly possible.

goldfinch

Speaking of reading–this is one of No Blaise’s favorite books!

 

The reason this all is at the forefront of my mind is because when I start grad school in September this habit of reading when I feel like it isn’t going to fly, at least in terms of my assignments.

“Sorry professor, I didn’t do the reading cause I had just done that other reading and my brain didn’t feel like it.”

“Oh, whoops, I tried doing the homework before bed and fell asleep and then forgot about it in the morning. Can I turn it in next week? Or maybe in a month? I’ll definitely have it done in a month.”

“I just couldn’t get into the reading so I stopped.”

“They don’t have that textbook in the kindle store so I’m sorry but I won’t be using it.”

“Yes, ma’am, you are right. I do need a reality check.”

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Jim Siergey: Attack of the Invisible Nude Vampires from Outer Space

November 12th, 2014

Upon the checkered tablecloth stood a pair of salt and pepper shakers with rounded stainless steel tops. Next to them sat a fat bulb of garlic. These items were soon joined by an emptied coffee mug.

“That was a good supper,” proclaimed the husky-handed fellow clad in bib overalls, as he wiped a drop of coffee from his chin with a red kerchief that he withdrew from his side pocket.

“I made the steak just the way you like it, dear,” responded an apron-attired woman, standing at the sink, rinsing off plates and cookware.

He got up from his chair and walked over to her at the sink. He put his arms around her waist and said: “You sure know the way to a man’s heart.”

The husband and wife gently snuggled inside the kitchen of their farm house as crickets chirped innocently outside in the dark. Chickens were roosting inside their coop and horses were relaxing in the corral.

The night sky was dotted with clusters of stars and a sliver of moon sliced its way into the violet blue panorama. But something out of the ordinary streaked across the placid heavens. As this barely discernible object reached the farm, it slowed down and hovered. Then it gradually lowered itself and quietly lit upon a grassy knoll.

It was a coffin. It was made of some sort of durable glasslike material which made it possible to see that there was nothing to see inside of it. It sat in its pastoral setting for a while and then a creaking sound was heard as its lid slowly opened.

Off in the distance, the horses became agitated. They began stamping their hooves and whinnying and neighing.

In the kitchen, the man turned his head in the direction of the equine calls of distress.

“Something’s wrong with the horses, Bella.”

“Lou, go see.” his wife said as she quietly placed a hand upon his shoulder.

The kitchen door opened, spilling light upon the darkened walkway. Lou could see something just a few feet away. As he walked closer and his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he saw that it was the carcass of a horse.

mredhorse

In the movie, the role of the horse will be played by Mr. Ed…

 

He knelt and gently placed his hand upon the inert form. As he stroked the neck of the gentle beast, he noticed something lying beside it. He picked it up, arose and moved closer to the light in order to get a better view. It was a gashed and mangled bridle.

Lou looked up from his hands and spoke to the night air with breathless astonishment, “Clawed reins.”

He quickly re-entered the kitchen where Bella stood, wringing her apron with her hands.

“Was that? Was that…?” she asked.

“Yes. Stoker is dead”, Lou tersely replied. “The poor beast appears to be drained of all its blood.”

“What can it mean?”

“It means,” Lou said as he quickly went into the living room, “there’s a maniac out there.”

Lou took the rifle off the wall above the fireplace, cocked it open and began loading it from a box of shells that sat upon the mantel. When he finished, he closed it with a loud clang.

“And I don’t mean to let him in here!” he gruffly snorted.

In the dirt outside, barefoot footprints appeared out of nowhere. They sauntered forward and then stopped in front of a cat that was nonchalantly washing itself with tongue and paw. Startled, the cat looked up, arched its back, hissed and sped off to the kitchen door where it began yowling.

Bella parted the curtains in the door window and espied the howling feline. A smile crossed her face and she opened up the portal.

“Hello, Max. Would you like to come inside?”

clauderains

Claude Rains will also play a role…

 

The cat ignored her friendly greeting and rushed past her into another room of the house. She bemusedly watched the creature run off and then shuddered as, despite the warm night air, she felt a chill go through her. She began to close the door but stopped as she noticed a trail of tracked in dirt upon the floor.

“Hmp. And they say cats are clean creatures.”

As she shut the door, Lou hollered from the living room.

“Bella! How did this cat get in here?”

“I invited him in, dear. He seemed upset. I didn’t want the same fate to befall him that befell poor Stoker.”

Lou stormed into the kitchen with rifle in hand.

“Why aren’t you more careful, woman? Opening doors like that. Anyone could be out there!”

“I’m sorry, Lou. Please, don’t snap at me.”

Abashed, Lou put his arm around Bella’s quivering shoulder, “I’m sorry, dear, but there’s something going on…”

He stopped mid-sentence as he noticed the dirt on the floor. “What’s that?”

“Oh, something the cat dragged in.” Bella explained. “I’ll get a broom.”

Lou pondered the dirt as if there was something strange about it. Then he reached for the doorknob.

“I think I’ll have a look-see outside.”

“Oh, Lou, do you think that’s wise? Why not wait until morning?”

“I won’t be kept prisoner in my own house, Bell. Don’t worry, I’ll be careful.” He patted his rifle. “I’ve got Ol’ Betsy with me.”

Lou kissed Bella on the cheek and went outside. Bella began sweeping up the dirt on the floor.

Microscopic molecules and pockets of air that had been lingering against the wall now stealthily moved closer to the sweeping figure. As this mass of nothingness neared the kitchen table, it suddenly stopped.

Bella, humming an old Beatles tune, You Won’t See Me, dumped her dustpan full of dirt into the garbage pail. She turned and noticed the bulb of garlic that was left upon the table. She picked it up and deposited it into the refrigerator.

jimsiergeyattackAttacked! (illustration by the great Jim Siergey…)

 

The mass of molecules begin to move once again.

As Bella rounded the table, her head was suddenly jerked back as if an arm had wrapped itself around her throat. She struggled with the unseen attacker that was positioned behind her. Besides the choke hold, one of her arms was then pinned behind her back. She twisted, turned and thrashed about. Chairs were knocked over and pots and pans clattered as she swung about in a wild and desperate attempt to free herself.

Her attempts were futile as she eventually fell limp and was lowered to the floor. Lying prone upon the linoleum, her head was delicately raised. Two puncture marks appeared in her throat and a soft sucking sound was heard.

Lou searched the grounds and finding nothing, headed back home. He stopped at the kitchen door and took one more wary look around before entering.

Lou’s eyes widened in disbelief as he gaped at the scene before him–a kitchen in disarray and his wife lying on the floor! He rushed to her lifeless body but quickly realized that nothing could be done. He hung his head in momentary despair but then quickly looked up in alertness. He grabbed his rifle and headed for the living room.

Against the wall of the doorway to the living room was their couch. On the couch, hiding behind a cushion, was the cat and above the recently reupholstered piece of furniture hung an ornamental mirror. With rifle poised, Lou crept into the room. He looked around but saw no one. Suddenly, the cat yowled, leaped off the couch and ran toward the hallway. Lou whirled around and glimpsed a fleeting image in the mirror of someone running in the same direction as the cat. He whirled again but saw no one.

Lou then heard a sound. It was the bedroom door closing. He slinked down the hallway to the bedroom. The door was closed. With shaking hand, he reached for the doorknob, yanked it open and burst inside.

All he found was their bed, nicely made with an embroidered coverlet and matching pillows. On either side of the bed were the side tables holding lamps with matching lampshades. Across from the bed was a closet door. There was no sign of anything being out of the ordinary.

Lou closed the bedroom door behind him and looked under the bed, finding nothing but a few dust bunnies. With rifle at the ready he opened the closet door that revealed a full length mirror on the back of it. Using the long barrel of his weapon, he rummaged through the clothes on the hangers and the shoes upon the floor. There was no one or thing to be found.

In exasperated desperation, Lou shouted into the nothingness, “Where are you? Show yourself!”

His cries were met with silence. With a feeling of resigned defeat, he sat on the edge of the bed, bowed his head and began to weep.

In the reflection of the open closet door’s mirror, a beautiful naked woman was seen behind the figure of the sobbing farmer. Sighing, Lou slowly raised his head, seeing himself in the mirror. He also saw the naked woman. His eyes widened and he quickly turned around. There was nothing there to see. He turned back to the mirror. There was the woman again but now her mouth was open, her fangs were bared and she was bending toward him. Lou fired his rifle, shattering the mirror into dozens of pieces.

A brief struggle took place but soon, all movement ceased and all that could be heard was a sucking, slurping sound.

The bedroom door opened and the assembled mass of molecules and air pockets slowly moved down the hallway, passing family pictures and knickknacks. At the end of the hallway, another door was opened. Inside was a study.

In the study was a black naugahyde office chair on wheels positioned in front of a desk. On the desk was a laptop computer. The chair was pulled out and an impression was made in the seat. The computer was turned on. A computerized voice said, “You have mail!”

Keyboard keys were depressed by unseen fingers and an email window was brought up on the monitor. A computer mouse was clicked and the cursor on the monitor screen was moved to the “Compose Mail” icon. An email form appeared and as keyboard keys clacked away, these words appeared on the screen:

HI, EVERYONE. I’M HAVING A WONDERFUL TIME ON MY VACATION. I FOUND A CHARMING LITTLE COTTAGE AND THE FOOD IS GREAT! WISH YOU WERE HERE. SEE YOU SOON.
— INGRID

 

Editor’s Note: Jim‘s last post for The Third City was Big Bar Talk

 

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Matt Farmer: I Will Survive Rauner

November 9th, 2014

Fresh from his stirring election-night gig at The Hideout, where he sang a few of his greatest hits, Matt Farmer now delivers some recent Tweets of wisdom…

Rahm teams with Governor-elect Rauner in announcing comprehensive plan “to put 1000 more Carhartts on the street.”

A spokesman for @arneduncan said Duncan does not recall whether he phoned Bruce Rauner to congratulate him on last night’s victory.

Watching Rahm distance himself from Rauner is like watching two people in your office who are having an affair try to act like they’re not.

Rahm to send RFP to LAZ Voting, a wholly-owned subsidiary of LAZ Parking, to monitor Chicago polling places (and teach preschool classes).

I survived 8 years of W. I endured 6 years, 16 days of Governor Blagojevich. I will make it through 2,102,400 minutes of Commander Carhartt.

Will Mr. Rauner remember to use a Chicago address when he signs Rahm’s petition to get on the ballot for the mayoral race? #ThePartyofGreen

You know Rahm was hoping Nik Wallenda would quit halfway through the walk. That way, Rahm could have appointed another Wallenda to finish.

Lots of disappointed trick-or-treaters in Rogers Park today after Alderman @JoeMoore49 said they were all three minutes late for candy.

Rauner loves Halloween because it’s the only day he gets to change out of the “Joe Everyman” costume he’s worn since becoming a candidate.

Team Rauner to hand out Nestle 100 Grand bars at Rauner’s seven non-Illinois homes while handing out actual 100 grand at his Illinois homes.

Nik Wallenda said to be excited to have Rahm/Redmoon handling all technical and logistical aspects of his upcoming Chicago tightrope walk.

Rauner has now dumped $27.6 million into this race. Assuming he gets 1.7 million votes, he’ll have spent about $16.23 per vote. #ILGov2014

Bruce Rauner has now plowed $27.6 million into his campaign — a sum equal to roughly 110 seats at Payton College Prep. #ILGov2014 #twill

Folks are worked up about Rauner ordering a hot dog with ketchup? The key issue is whether he paired that dog with a $6000 red or white.

Rahm to announce that he’ll “restore full and complete confidence in Chicago’s red-light camera program” by asking Michael Ferro to run it.

After Tribune exposes costly CPS financial gambles, #CPS agrees to change name of Carrie Jacobs Bond School to Risky Insider Bond School.

Winnetka’s Tim Cawley said Aramark custodians will clean up the horrific #CPS bond mess using “high-tech, Zamboni-like machines.”

 

Editor’s Note: Matt‘s last post for The Third City was Rahm’s Ebola Cameras

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Jim Siergey: Big Bar Talk

November 6th, 2014

I’ve never been much of a barfly. In fact, 99% of the time that I have been in a bar was to see someone I knew that was performing a musical act onstage.

This is why I was where I was recently. I am unfamiliar with barroom decorum. That combined with the fact that the older I get, less censorship and thought goes into the things that I say. I have led a lifetime of not knowing what will come out of my mouth until it emerges but I used to have a lick of common sense of knowing when to keep my trap shut.

That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore.

At this aforementioned watering hole in which I found myself to see and hear The Beat Tweakers I was introduced to a fellow and we exchanged pleasantries as all civilized people would. A few minutes later as I sidled up to the bar to order a beverage for myself and my woman, this person was already there ordering some drinks. There was a fellow standing between us at the bar so I couldn’t quite hear what my new acquaintance was saying but it appeared that he had changed one of his drink orders and was tacking on a couple more.

drunkinbar

Lemme tell ya’…

 

This exchange was taking a bit of time and my patience level is quite low plus I was thirsting for some alcohol so I good humoredly called out to him “Hey! How many drinks are you going to order?”

Startled, he looked over at me and timidly replied, “I’m only ordering three.”

“Yeah?”, I growled, “It seems like you’re ordering six!”

The fellow between us looked up at me and asked “Do you two know one another?”

I mock-snarled at him “No, we don’t and what’s it to you anyway?”

I suppose this was a very unwise way to act in a barroom setting, even if I was kidding (admittedly, unbeknownst to anyone but myself). That kind of arrogant language was likely to spark the fighting interests of anyone within earshot who may have decided to take offense.

Fortunately, the bar I was at was in Evanston. and the fellow next to me and I ended up in a discussion about the Dewey Decimal System.

 

Editor’s Note: Jim‘s last post for The Third City was Pussy Problems

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